NBA Shootout 2003
Here at the ‘Nexus, we usually have a tough time finding a reviewer willing to take on a 989 Sports game. Their recent record has not been very good, but they have been showing signs of promise. Needless to say it was with some trepidation that I took on NBA Shootout 2003 for the PlayStation 2 system. I can tell you I was very pleasantly surprised, and I’m not just saying it to rub it in to the other Nexus reviewers.
Turning on the game, you are shown a montage of exciting basketball action backed with Kool Moe Dee’s rump shaking song, “I Go To Work.” Great song, and nice to see some old skool rappers back in the game.
The opening menu provides you with the following options: practice (a very good practice mode, including free throw shooting), exhibition, season (choose a 28,56, or full 82 game season), playoffs, and a career mode.
Let’s start with career mode as it is a very original mode for a basketball game. You’ve probably played a franchise mode where you run a team from year to year, but career mode instead involves you as a single player. You create your own player, distribute your skill points and select your dunk style. You then start off in a summer league and have to show the scouts what you’re made of. If you’re good, you’ll make it to the NBA…if you need some additional training, then it is off to the NBA Development League.
The career mode is a very nice addition to the game. It is in fact an excellent reason to purchase the game if you want to vicariously live through one individual.
As far as the standard gameplay goes, it too is also a lot of fun. You’ll be making quite a bit of use of the right analog stick as many of the special plays require the stick (including playcalling).
The camera in the game works well enough to view all the action and you don’t see the 3 point players coming in for slam dunks – in fact if you do attempt this, you’ll probably miss the dunk. Kudos to 989 for making sure the right players do the right moves.
You’ll end up scoring a lot of points in the 5-minute quarters – in fact the final score in the majority of my games have been similar to standard 12 minute games.
While the playcalling is there as an option, I haven’t found the need to call the plays as much as I had to do in the Sega NBA series of games, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you want to just play the game.
Control of the game is pretty easy , however if you’re used to the standard control of NBA, you’ll have to re-align yourself with ShootOut’s controls—the default shoot button is the circle instead of the square. It’s pretty easy to get used to, however, it does take some time.
If there’s any place that needs some serious help, it’s got to be the graphics of NBA ShootOut 2003. The bland, generic character models just pale in comparision to the stunning visuals of NBA2K3. I personally think the player graphics are so bad that they interfere with my enjoyment of the game.
Fortunately however, the gameplay is very good and the AI does make a game a challenge. One area that is rather unique for the game is the odd free throw meter. Getting a free throw can be difficult but can be done. In fact, I do like the free throw meter in this game – although a free throw is easy for a pro (save for Shaq), there is indeed a challenge and kudos to ShootOut for making it one.
Play by play serves the purpose – however you hear one too many Waltonisms per game – it gets very repetitive, unfortunately.
Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised with NBA ShootOut 2003. The lack of an online option when compared to both NBA Live and NBA2K3 surprises me in a negative way, but the career mode can make up for it. The game relies more on action than strategy in-game, so if you prefer this type of experience over the sim-like NBA2K3, this game might be right up your alley.
NBA Shootout is a surprisingly fun arcade basketball game with an excellent career mode hampered severely with some bland graphics and lack of an online option.
Rating: 7.2 Average
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I am male, married, 31 years old and love videogames ever since my parents bought me an Atari 2600 on December 24, 1979.
My resume for video gaming includes writing for PC Gamer (Contributing Editor, 2000), Operation Sports, Sharky Extreme,and the now defunct Rival Works, in addition to ghost writing for various publications. In addition from 2000 to September 2002 I was Editor In Chief for an online publication that ceased to exist because of the powers that be.
Right now I am playing Medal of Honor Spearhead, Splinter Cell, NHL2K3, Madden and NBA2K3. I love sports games and first person shooters with a pinch of strategy games.
I have two wonderful kids and live in the Northeast. I am a Patriots, Revolution and Orioles fan. View Profile